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Developing affordable housing

Lancaster City Council recognises the need for affordable housing in the district and it is therefore a key council priority. The provision of more affordable homes can help to increase the range of housing options, help to meet increasing demand as a result of recent welfare scheme changes and help the council to meet its required housing responsibilities.

Affordable housing falls into two categories: intermediate housing and social rented.

1.    Intermediate housing

This includes shared ownership, shared equity and discounted market homes.  Intermediate housing is normally targeted at households who are not likely to have a high enough income to buy a property outright but who are unlikely to qualify for social housing, given that only 10% of the total housing stock in Lancaster is owned and managed by the council and registered providers.

  • Discounted market housing

There are a number of existing discounted market housing schemes across Lancaster district that periodically become available for sale.  There is a separate webpage that describes the policy and processes on how units are sold on.  Details here.....  The discounted market housing model offers a fixed level of discount only, and the experience locally is that a set amount of discount at around 20% is often not enough to make homes affordable locally.  As a result of this, the council no longer negotiates discounted market housing units on new sites although the council’s policy could be subject to change if the government fully implements “starter homes” nationally.     

  • Shared ownership housing

Shared ownership is the council’s preferred intermediate housing (managed by registered providers), because it allows people who are not normally able to buy a property outright, to buy a percentage share depending on what they can afford, and pay rent to a registered provider for the remainder. There is some eligibility criteria that applies and a financial assessment is undertaken in all circumstances.

  • Shared equity housing

Shared equity schemes provide a loan that acts as part of a deposit, and are often provided through private developers rather than registered providers. Legally, the purchaser owns 100% of the property but there are requirements to pay back the loan after a certain period of time or when sold, and a legal charge is normally placed on the property. The government has recently introduced a new scheme called 'Help to Buy' which is a type of equity loan scheme.

2.   Social rented housing

Social rented units can be charged at social or affordable rents and are let by registered providers of social housing and are normally let through a waiting list/prioritisation system.

How are we working towards this?

We are working in partnership with a number of affordable housing providers (‘registered providers’, previously known as housing associations). The main developing registered providers locally are Adactus, Guinness, Great Places, Impact, Places for People, Progress and Lune Valley Rural Housing Association.  

We support the identification of sites through the local plan process and have previously supported affordable housing development by providing free land or grant funding, and support bids to gain grant funding to support affordable homes in our district.

Registered providers also work in partnership with house builders. Ideally house builders need to provide up to 40% of affordable housing when planning a housing development (negotiable depending on site). The affordable housing is then transferred to a registered provider who owns/manages the properties.

We have an agreement with local registered providers, which means that at least 50% of rented affordable housing is provided as social/council housing.

Affordable housing schemes in the Lancaster district

For details of available affordable housing developments, please contact us.

Who do I contact about the different types affordable housing?

For intermediate housing (shared ownership and shared equity schemes):

  • Help to Buy North West can provide information and assistance on shared ownership and shared equity schemes.  
  • An alterative is to contact the relevant registered provider or local estate agent who are marketing the properties.

For social/affordable rented housing:

Last updated: 30 September 2016

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